U.S. Army Pushes Ahead With Battlefield Resupply Drones

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U.S. Army Pushes Ahead With Battlefield Resupply Drones

Mensagempor miniming » 18 Mar 2021, 06:37

U.S. Army Pushes Ahead With Battlefield Resupply Drones


Lt. Gen. Michael "Erik" Kurilla, commander of XVIII Airborne Corps, has endorsed moving ahead with wider-scale testing of drones for battlefield resupply after successful demonstrations. During the recent Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE) 2021, a company-sized unit carried out a defensive action in which the defenders ran low on ammunition and two commercial drones flew a rapid resupply mission.

Two types of drone were used, one carrying an 80-pound load, the other 150 pounds. Ammunition packs were made up in advance so that rather than detailing what they needed, the unit could just order “Package Two” to get a suitable mix of calibers.

A typical 80-pound load could include 400 rounds of belted ammunition for the M240 medium machinegun, plus 500 rounds for the M249 light machinegun, and another 500 to 600 rounds for M4A1 assault rifles. The larger payload could include over 2,000 rounds of 7.62mm. The drones can also carry other supplies such as five-gallon containers of water.

This type of rapid resupply could be even more valuable for an attacking situation, where troops are not able to stockpile ammunition.

"This is the notion that you can get supplies forward to prepare for counterattack or potentially press the attack," Ed Davis, director of the Maneuver Battle Lab, told an audience at a March 9 debriefing event. "You want to end the attack on your terms, not necessarily because you need ammo."

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